As well as GrubHub and Netflix suffices for most Friday nights, sometimes it’s nice to take yourself out for dinner and a movie. Especially on a hot summer evening when your AC is not exactly working.
So two-and-a-half hours of air-conditioned bliss later, there you were rummaging through your bag for your car keys. And lo and behold, there is a band playing on the Rotunda’s “event lawn,” right in front of Garden Party, the charming little open air bar intended to add a European ambiance to what, during the day, is a kiddie splash pad. Actually, the band wasn’t playing at that very moment. They were in between sets and had wisely started canvassing you and the other departing movie goers to come hear the next set.
It was the Hot Club of Baltimore, specializing in French Gypsy swing. Before you say, “Whaaaa????” , think of the movie Chocolat. The scene when Johnny Depp is dancing with Juliette Binoche, to yes… a French Gypsy jazz band. Which, by the way, played Minor Swing, a piece by Django Reinhardt, the very composer Hot Club’s repertoire primarily features. There you go.
The adorable retro bulb lights criss-crossing the patio space just added to the whole ambience. With a glass of rose and the chatter of couples at near by tables, it was almost like being in France in the 1930s.
A few points of note:
- Hot Club (and its sibling, Ultrafaux) is led by Michael Joseph Harris, and performs nationwide. Featuring Harris on guitar, the group has multiple configurations that may at anytime include a second guitar, bassist, violinist, vocalist and horns and saxophones.
- Hot Club’s next Baltimore area show is this Friday, August 24th at The Elk Room in Harbor East. They’ll be back in town September 29th, with a daytime performance at Parktoberfest (Patterson Park), followed by an appearance at Bookmaker’s Cocktail Club that evening.
- Garden Party (and Tiny Wine Shop) are the latest from the owners of Avenue Kitchen & Bar in Hampden. Cold plates and colder wine slushies are available along with wine and cocktails. Open 11am to 10pm Mon – Saturday, 11am to 8pm on Sunday.
- Jazz evenings at the Rotunda are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6:30 to 9:30 now until hopefully the fall. Go.